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SDSU Students Look Forward To Opening Of New Student Center

Evening Edition

Aired 1/17/14 on KPBS News.

SDSU students return to school next week, and will able to use the school's new LEED certified student union after two years of construction.

San Diego State University’s new Aztec Student Union is due to open for students next week, after more than two years of construction.

The building is 206,000 square feet, and cost $104 million to build. All funding for the building came from student-approved fees. The school’s old student union was built to accommodate only 10,000 people — about of third SDSU’s student body.

Javier Gomez is a senior at SDSU and is vice president of external affairs for the school’s student governing body, Associated Students. The group led the charge to get the union built, and Gomez said he is very excited about the building's completion.

“For me it’s really exciting to see. I was able to be here to vote on the actual referendum to build this building, and I was able to see it be knocked down, and every step of the way I've been here to see it being built,” Gomez said.

Highlights of the building include a fitness center, a 12-lane bowling alley, eateries, a bank, a travel center, a theater for lectures and movies and “Montezuma Hall,” which features murals saved from the old student union.

The building is certified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum. Associated Students Director of Facilities and Sustainability Glen Brandenburg said one of the biggest challenges in planning the building was figuring out how to reduce energy consumption in such a large space. Surfaces on the second and third floor reflect heat, while the rooftop garden cools the air, allowing the building to reach a comfortable temperature. To cut down on water use, the building has three 50,000-gallon rainwater collection tanks to be used for landscape irrigation.

Josh Morse, president of Associated Students, said students are looking forward to being able to use the space.

“The energy is at an all-time high, and we’re excited for the student interaction. It’s just going to be something that’s out of this world,” Morse said.

The Aztec Student Union will open officially on Jan. 22, with grand dedication events scheduled for March.

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